Well, Speed Racer was… about what I expected. If you’re planning to see it and haven’t, yet, consider taking some dramamine. Better yet, consider doing something else entirely! Or—here’s an idea—you could wait until Friday and go see The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian instead!
There was a nice piece about the next Narnia film in Variety last week:
Showing a surer sense of cinematic values in his second live-action venture, “Shrek” vet Adamson stages the surging action with verve and a respect for old-school virtues, rather than tricking it up with modern affectations. Caspian’s flight from the Telmarine castle — a splendidly iconic one built on a rock and approachable only by bridge over a deep ravine — and stealthy return in the dead of night are dramatically filmed in considerable darkness. The reappearance of Tilda Swinton’s White Witch is a riveting surprise but has the unfortunate side effect of making you wish she’d step out of her pane of ice, as she desperately desires, to take a central role here.
When all is said and done, this is a pretty straightforward war film. Once Caspian escapes, Miraz’s men methodically prepare to conquer the wayward Narnians by building a big bridge across the river to the forest. Final combat comes in two stages. First, to avoid carnage on both sides, a winner-takes-all mano a mano is arranged between the vain Miraz and Peter (who for 15 years was High King of Narnia, after all). Scene is tensely and intensely enacted, with some unusual details.
When this doesn’t do the trick, however, the two armies pour it on, with the balance swaying this way and that for nearly a half-hour of CGI-dominated mayhem. Given that there’s no question as to how it will turn out, and that Aslan will eventually intervene at the crucial moment, pic is still able to play a couple visual-effects trump cards that provide something audiences haven’t seen before.
It sounds like fans of Narnia won’t want to miss this one. And there can’t be two movies I’m really looking forward to, in a row, that end up getting panned by the critics… right?
Don’t answer that. I’m plugging my ears until Thursday, and then I may peek at the reviews before the weekend.